Far-right threats mount against US authorities

FBI

After a US federal judge unsealed documents related to the FBI’s search of former president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida, fears have grown over increased threats of violence. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart unsealed the search warrant and attachments Aug. 12, following a motion from the Department of Justice (DoJ). Since unsealing the documents, Reinhart has become the target of violent and anti-Semitic threats, with his personal information, including home address, shared across Twitter and far-right platforms. Threats against Reinhart have prompted the federal judiciary to renew calls for Congress to pass legislation aimed at increasing security for judges.

According to the unsealed warrant and attachments, the FBI seized 11 sets of classified documents in the Aug. 8 search. They also revealed that the DoJ is investigating Trump for violating federal laws. Trump has said that the documents were declassified, although nothing suggests there is any bureaucratic record of this.

Media outlets have confirmed that the FBI and Department of Homeland Security released a joint intelligence bulletin after the warrant was unsealed, noting an increase in threats against FBI officials. On Aug. 13, armed protesters gathered outside the FBI offices in Phoenix, Ariz., ultimately dispersing without incident. On Aug. 11, an individual was killed after attempting to enter the FBI office in Cincinnati, Ohio, armed with an AR-15-style rifle and a nail gun.

From Jurist, Aug. 15. Used with permission.

Note: The unsealed court papers show that FBI agents seized one box containing “Various classified/TS/SCI documents.” That’s shorthand for “Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information,” the type of material that the government normally requires to be read only in a protected room by people with high-level security clearances. These included classified documents related to nuclear weapons, the Washington Post reported, citing sources familiar with the investigation.

On his Truth Social platform, Trump retorted that “Nuclear weapons is a hoax, just like Russia, Russia, Russia was a hoax,” referring to then-special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.  (The Hill. NBC, Bloomberg)

We have been monitoring the post-presidency investigations into Donald Trump here.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

  1. DoJ releases redacted Mar-a-Lago search warrant affidavit

    The US Department of Justice on Aug. 26 released a redacted version of the affidavit seeking a search warrant for former president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence. The DOJ also released a memo outlining the reasons for the proposed redactions. (Jurist)

  2. DoJ: Trump deliberately concealed classified documents

    The US Department of Justice (DoJ) said in a court filing Aug. 30 that it had evidence that classified documents were deliberately concealed from the FBI, which prompted the search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence.

    The filing comes after an order from Judge Aileen Cannon for the DoJ to respond to Trump’s motion to appoint a “special master” to oversee review of the seized material. In its response, the DoJ argued that Trump lacks standing to seek judicial relief as the records do not belong to him. The response stated that appointment of a special master would be “unnecessary” and “inappropriate.” (Jurist)

  3. Judge grants Trump’s request for ‘special master’

    A federal judge has granted former President Donald Trump’s request to appoint a “special master” to review materials that the FBI seized from Mar-a-Lago last month. The decision, from Trump-appointed District Judge Aileen Cannon, is a significant victory for the former President, who has railed against the Biden administration and Justice Department since the search was executed four weeks ago. (CNN)

  4. Federal judge selected as special master in Trump investigation

    Raymond Dearie, US District Court judge for the Eastern District of New York, was appointed on Sept. 15 special master as part of the Justice Department’s ongoing investigation into former president Trump. (Jurist)

  5. Court allows DoJ to resume examination of Mar-a-Lago documents

    The US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit on Sept. 21 held that the Department of Justice can resume its examination of classified documents seized from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence. The court’s ruling stayed a Sept. 5 preliminary injunction from a Florida federal district judge overseeing the criminal probe. (Jurist)

  6. SCOTUS rejects Trump bid to reinstate special master

    The US Supreme Court on Oct. 13 denied former President Donald Trump’s application to bring approximately 100 classified documents back within special master review. Trump appealed to the high court after the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit issued a partial stay allowing the Department of Justice to continue examining some 100 documents without special master review. Some 11,000 more documents remain under special master review. (Jurist)

  7. DoJ asks court to end special master review of Trump documents

    The Department of Justice (DoJ) on Oct. 14 asked the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit to end a special master review of thousands of documents that the FBI seized from former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate. The request argues that Judge Aileen Cannon was wrong to grant a special master review at Trump’s request because there was no indication of malfeasance or infringement of Trump’s rights in connection with the search. The DoJ believes that the special master review process is unwarranted as to executive privilege and as to the government records. (Jurist)

  8. DoJ accuses Trump of ‘gamesmanship’ in special master review

    The Justice Department is accusing Donald Trump and his legal team of engaging in “gamesmanship” in their battle to retain thousands of records seized from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort that are now in the hands of a court-appointed special master.

    Trump’s attorneys assert that when he ordered the packing of materials in the White House that were then transported to Mar-a-Lago, they were in effect automatically designated as his own personal records. However, at the same time, his attorneys say if special master Raymond Dearie rejects that argument for certain documents, they should have the opportunity to claim they are covered by executive privilege.

    “The Special Master should not indulge this type of gamesmanship,” department officials said of Trump’s position in a document filed in the case. (ABC News)

  9. Appeals court ends special master review of Trump documents

    The US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit on Dec. 1 unanimously ruled that the Department of Justice (DOJ) may access documents it seized from former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in August without a special master review. (Jurist)

  10. Trump indicted in classified documents case

    US federal prosecutors have indicted former president Donald Trump in relation to his handling of classified documents, Trump announced June 8 via his social media platform. As of the time of this report, federal prosecutors have yet to confirm the indictment.

    Sources close to the investigation told CNN that federal prosecutors indicted Trump on seven charges. The New York Times and the Washington Post reported that the charges will potentially include making false statements, conspiracy to obstruct and willful retention of documents. Trump is scheduled to appear at a federal courthouse in Miami on June 13, to face the charges.

    Trump said his attorneys informed him of the indictment in what he referred to as “the Boxes Hoax.” In a series of posts announcing the indictment, Trump claimed to be an innocent man and cast blame on President Joe Biden, who was also found to be in possession of classified documents outside of proper channels. (Jurist)

  11. Trump faces 37 criminal counts in unsealed indictment

    US federal prosecutors on Jue 9 unsealed a 37-count indictment against Donald Trump and his former aide Waltine Nauta. Special Counsel Jack Smith charged Trump with 31 counts of willful retention of national defense information. Trump was also charged—alongside Nauta—with six additional counts, including conspiracy to obstruct justice and concealing a document in a federal investigation.

    The indictment details how Trump and Nauta, along with other staffers, packaged classified documents relating to US and foreign allies’ defense and nucear capabilities in cardboard boxes. The indictment clearly states that Trump was not authorized to possess or retain the classified documents.

    In the filing, Smith asserted: “The unauthorized disclosure of these classified documents could put at risk the national security of the United States, foreign relations, the safety of the United States military, and human sources and the continued viability of sensitive intelligence collection methods.”

    At Mar-a-Lago, Trump stored the boxes at times in a ballroom event space, bathroom, shower, office space, his personal bedroom, and a storage room. The indictment includes a lengthy recounting of Trump’s orders to move the boxes from location to location—including off-grounds to another Trump property in Bedminster, New Jersey. (Jurist)

  12. Trump pleads not guilty

    Donald Trump pleaded not guilty on June 13 to 37 criminal charges in a Miami federal court. Prosecutors, operating under the direction of Special Counsel Jack Smith, agreed to release Trump on bond, with no bail payment, ahead of the start of the trial. US Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman also issued a no-contact order, which bars Trump from discussing the case with any potential witnesses called by the prosecution.

    Trump’s co-defendant and former aide Waltine Nauta was also set to be arraigned that day. However, Nauta’s arraignment was postponed because he was unable to obtain local counsel.

    Magistrate judges often handle routine, procedural aspects of cases, like the initial appearance by Trump. However, the trial will be overseen by Judge Aileen M. Cannon, a Trump appointee who has issued favorable rulings to Trump in the past and was randomly assigned to the case. (Jurist, NYT)

  13. Evidence cannot be made public in Trump documents case

    A federal magistrate in Florida ruled in favor of a protective order, forcing former President Donald Trump and his attorneys not to release evidence in the federal criminal case surrounding Trump’s storage and maintenance of classified documents.

    District Court Southern District of Florida Magistrate Bruce Reinhart ordered:

    Defendants and Defense Counsel shall not disclose the Discovery Materials or their contents directly or indirectly to any person or entity other than persons employed to assist in the defense, persons who are interviewed as potential witnesses, counsel for potential witnesses, and other persons to whom the Court may authorize disclosure…

    The order also requires that evidence gathered during the discovery process be properly stored with labels specifying the applicability of the order. Finally, it enjoins Trump’s defense from making unauthorized copies of materials, limits Trump’s ability to view materials without attorney supervision and requires that all materials be promptly returned to the Department of Justice (DoJ) after 90 days.

    The request for the protective order was filed by the DoJ last week in accordance with Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 16(d)(1), due to the inclusion of “sensitive and confidential information” in the discovery process. At issue in the DoJ’s case against Trump are classified government documents, some bearing top secret designations. (Jurist)

  14. Trump aide pleads not guilty

    Waltine Nauta, a former aide to Donald Trump, pleaded not guilty July 6 to six criminal charges in a Miami federal court, including conspiracy to obstruct justice, withholding documents or records, corruptly concealing documents or records, concealing documents in a federal investigation, scheming to conceal, and making false statements or representations. Trump pleaded not guilty on June 13 to 37 charges in the same case. (Jurist)

  15. Prosecutors: reject Trump bid to postpone documents case

    Federal prosecutors on July 13 urged the judge overseeing Donald Trump’s criminal case concerning classified documents retention to reject Trump’s bid to postpone the case indefinitely. The government filed its motion in response to Trump’s July 10 motion to delay the trial. Judge Aileen Cannon has not yet issued any ruling on the matter. (Jurist)

  16. Judge agrees to postpone Trump classified documents case

    US Federal District Judge Aileen Cannon agreed July 20 to postpone the trial date for the criminal classified documents retention case against Donald Trump. Originally, the case was set to proceed to trial on Aug. 14. Under Cannon’s new order, the trial is now set to begin in Fort Pierce, Florida, on May 20, 2024. (Jurist)

  17. New charges, co-defendant in Trump documents case

    Federal prosecutors announced additional charges and a new co-defendant in the classified documents case against Donald Trump on July 27. Trump faces two new obstruction charges and an additional wrongful retention of documents charge. Prosecutors have also now charged Trump property manager Carlos De Oliveira with multiple obstruction charges as well as a false statements charge.

    The new charges are contained in a superseding indictment, which replaces Special Counsel Jack Smith’s previous 37-count criminal indictment of Trump and former Trump aide Waltine Nauta. The superseding indictment includes the same charges that Trump and Nauta were facing but adds additional criminal charges against Trump and new charges against De Oliveria. (Jurist)

  18. Trump and aide enter not guilty pleas on new charges

    Donald Trump and his aide Waltine Nauta entered not-guilty pleas on te new criminal charges in their federal classified documents case on Aug. 10 in a Florida courtroom. The third co-defendant added to the case by federal prosecutors in July, Trump property manager Carlos De Oliveira, appeared at the courthouse to enter his plea, but was unable to do so because he did not have local legal counsel. (Jurist)

  19. Texas woman pleads guilty to threatening judge in Trump​ case

    A Texas woman pleaded guilty on Nov. 10 to a charge of making threats against Judge Aileen Cannon of the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Tiffani Shea Gish pleaded guilty to one charge of interstate communications with a threat to kidnap or injure. Cannon currently oversees Donald Trump’s legal disputes around documents seized from his Mar-a-Lago residence. (Jurist)

  20. DoJ declines to prosecute Biden in documents case

    The US Department of Justice has found evidence that President Joe Biden willfully retained classified materials pertaining to military, intelligence, and national security matters after having served as vice president under Barack Obama, but has declined to prosecute, according to a report released Feb. 8.

    Under the leadership of Special Counsel Robert K. Hur, the team concluded prosecution would be inappropriate due to the fact that the evidence failed to establish the president’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In addition, the report reasoned that if he were to stand before a jury, Biden would “likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview of him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”

    White House lawyer Rick Sauber said in a statement that the Biden administration is “pleased” with the decision not to prosecute, but, “We disagree with a number of inaccurate and inappropriate comments in the Special Counsel’s report.

    Donald Trump released a statement saying: “THIS HAS NOW PROVEN TO BE A TWO-TIERED SYSTEM OF JUSTICE AND UNCONSTITUTIONAL SELECTIVE PROSECUTION!” (Jurist)

  21. US Marshals report increase in threats against judges

    The US House of Representatives Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime & Federal Government Surveillance held a hearing Feb. 14 with US Marshals Service Director Ronald Davis to discuss the agency’s response to threats against federal judges one day after Davis revealed to Reuters that threats against federal judges have skyrocketed across the country in the last year due to “politically driven violence.” (Jurist)

  22. Trump seeks to dismiss classified documents case

    Donald Trump asked the federal judge overseeing his trial concerning criminal retention of classified documents to dismiss the case based on a claim of presidential immunity. Trump currently faces 40 criminal charges in the case. His motion to dismiss only deals with the first 32 counts of the indictment against him, which deal with the willful retention of national defense information. (Jurist)

  23. Judge denies Trump motion to dismiss classified documents case​

    The Florida federal judge overseeing Donald Trump’s classified documents case denied April 4 an effort by the former president to dismiss the case based on the Presidential Records Act (PRA). Trump argued that the classified documents he allegedly retained following the end of his presidency were declassified under the PRA. However, Judge Aileen Cannon dismissed Trump’s arguments. (Jurist)

  24. Judge indefinitely delays Trump classified documents case​

    US District Judge Aileen Cannon in Florida indefinitely postponed the criminal trial of former president Donald Trump on May 7, moving the trial date back at least two months. Cannon vacated the previous May 20 trial date, finding that various pre-trial motions and issues regarding the Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA) need to be addressed first. (Jurist)

  25. Bid to restrict Trump public statements in documents case denied

    US District Judge Aileen Cannon denied special counsel Jack Smith’s request to restrict Donald Trump’s public statements in the ongoing classified documents case against the former president. Smith had sought to bar Trump from making public statements that could endanger law enforcement agents participating in the investigation and prosecution. (Jurist)